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Zodiac by Robert Graysmith

Zodiac (edition 2007)

by Robert Graysmith

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9241614,263 (3.58)20
Authors:Robert Graysmith
Info:Berkley (2007), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library

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Zodiac by Robert Graysmith


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English (15)  French (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
One of the better serial killer books out there. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
There's nothing like an unsolved mystery. When I was a kid I would sometimes sneak downstairs and watch reruns of Unsolved Mysteries when they were on some cable channel or another at midnight. Maybe you can help solve a mystery, you know? Which underlies the enduring appeal of another serial killer: the Zodiac. The case was never cracked. We're not even really sure how many victims he had. There are clues, not in the least the cryptograms he spent out, but not that many, even, really. We'll almost certainly never know, and that's the kind of thing that gets beneath people's skins and drives them crazy.

Robert Graysmith was a political cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle when those cryptograms started coming in, and his book Zodiac details the case and how it sucked him in. He developed friendships and relationships with the reporters and police working the case and couldn't stop himself from doing a bit of his own investigating on the side. The book describes the crimes police are certain were committed by the Zodiac and then goes on to crimes they think he committed, and their befuddlement as his claimed body count in his letters goes up and up without real certainty as to which disappearances and murders actually belong to him. It could be a handful. It could be a few dozen. It could be hundreds. There's really no way to be sure.

For me, the strongest part of the book was the first half or so, the crimes we can definitely connect to the Zodiac. Graysmith narrates the last hours in the lives of the victims, tension building as the reader knows that the grisly and terrifying end is coming up just around the corner. He narrates the confusion of the police, left with bloody crime scenes with no apparent motive and no clues. And then the cryptograms and taunting letters start coming, rubbing their faces in it, threatening school buses of children with bombs, forcing them to take him seriously even as they got nowhere trying to figure out who he was.

But it falls apart a bit as the letters keep coming but it gets harder to tie the boasts they contain to actual crimes. There are unsolved murders, but they fall outside his usual M.O. Did he switch things up to throw them off? Or are these entirely different perpetrators? And as the letters themselves became less and less frequent, Graysmith starts chasing his own leads. The book is less and less sure of the story it's trying to tell. Is it true crime? Is it a murder mystery? Is it a story about men who can't let go of a puzzle that got the best of them? It just kind of meanders around without much of a point. And Graysmith wasn't really a writer, and it shows: his prose isn't particularly great. We don't really get a handle on anything: the Zodiac killer, the personalities of the police hunting him, even the suspects Graysmith tracks down. It's just a pretty rote recitation of increasingly disjointed facts. If you're a devotee of true crime stories, especially about serial killers, or are interested in the Zodiac case, you might like this. I was hoping to like it more than I actually did. ( )
  500books | May 22, 2018 |
I have read this book years ago.
Trying to add some books on Shelfari I discovered I had never registered this book on BC.

From Library Journal
From 1968 to the early 1970s, the self-styled "Zodiac" killer made headlines in the San Francisco Bay Area. In random attacks, he is known to have murdered six persons; in a series of letters to newspapers, which sometimes included cryptograms, he boasted of many more. To this day, the infamous case remains unsolved and surprisingly little has been written about it. Graysmith, a San Francisco Chronicle staff member, was obsessed with the case from the beginning and he has continued to investigate it as an amateur sleuth. Except for "Zodiac" himself, the author now knows more about the case than anyone. In this full, chronological account, which will fascinate true crime readers, he speculates about the most likely suspect.

On amazon I see I gave this a 4 out of 5 stars. I remember I was fascinated but it sucks we still don't know who did it. ( )
  Marlene-NL | Apr 12, 2013 |
I will admit, I picked up this book after seeing David Fincher's Zodiac. I found the case both horrifying and intriguing and I knew I wanted to know more. The Zodiac murders happened long before I was born, but Robert Graysmith did a great job at laying out all the facts from the case in an easy to read format. However, it was quite obvious that Graysmith was not a writer (he was a cartoonist) by the unpolished way that he writes at times. I gave Zodiac four stars instead of five because the material could be dry at times, and a more skilled writer may have been able to do a better job at making those parts sparkle and shine like the rest of the text. I definitely think that this would be a great book for any true crime buff or for those who are interested in the great unsolved cases of our day and age. Also, if you enjoyed the movie, you will more than likely enjoy this book for filling in all the missing pieces and giving you a glimpse at some of the actual evidence from the case. A definite must-read for true crime fans and a good primer for those looking to get into the genre! ( )
  MeganAngela | Dec 15, 2011 |
I really liked this book. It was informative and interesting. I am a little bit too young to remember the actual events going on but the book lays out the events in enough detail to make them interesting without being boring with too much information. Listening to this book made me want to watch the movie. I realized from the book that there are several movies based on these events, including "Dirty Harry." Overall, a great listen and I would recommend it to anyone interested in true crime stories. ( )
  khoov00 | Oct 19, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Graysmithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rudnicki, StefanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Canonical title
Original title
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Zodiac ( [2007]IMDb)
Awards and honors
In memory of my father. And with all my love for my mother, David, Aaron, Margot, Penny, and especially Pamela.
First words
After Jack the Ripper and before Son of Sam there is only one name equal in terror: the deadly, elusive, and mysterious Zodiac.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
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Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (5)

Book description
A sexual sadist, he took pleasure in torture and murder. His first victims were a teenage couple, stalked and shot dead in a lovers' lane. After another slaying, he sent his first mocking note to authorities, promising he would kill more.
The official tally of his victims was six. He claimed thirty-seven dead. The real toll may have reached fifty.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425212181, Mass Market Paperback)

"SHE WAS YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL BUT NOW SHE IS BATTERED AND DEAD. SHE IS NOT THE FIRST AND SHE WILL NOT BE THE LAST." Few cases in the history of true crime are as colorful and intriguing as that of Zodiac, the bizarre gunman in an executioner's hood who hunted the streets of San Francisco in the late 1960s and sent dozens of taunting letters to the police. Robert Graysmith provides ample details about the police investigation, including the full text and photos of most of the letters. Zodiac is an excellent starting point not only for the casual reader, but also for those interested in retracing the author's steps in order to pursue their own ideas about who the killer may have been. This book has been praised by the San Francisco Chronicle, the very paper in which the Zodiac's eerie messages and cryptograms were published: "Graysmith's taut narrative brings the horror back with jolt upon jolt."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:26 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A "San Francisco Chronicle" reporter provides an account of the series of unsolved murders committed in California from 1968 to the early seventies in which letters were sent to the "Chronicle," announcing the crimes and signed with a symbol from the Zodiac.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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